By Tessa Raebeck
Their artistic pursuits have taken them to coveted galleries, television studios and the country’s best art schools, but, working across mediums and the world, the 19 artists in this month’s Alumni Art Exhibition have one thing in common: they cultivated their creativity at the Ross School.
The exhibition highlights alumni artists working in cinematography, design, photography and more, who have graduated from the high school in the last 13 years. Keith Skretch, who designs video for live performance and installation in New York and Los Angeles, graduated in 2001, while Zac Wan of the class of 2014 is currently studying as a freshman at the School of Visual Arts.
The show features the work of 19 former Ross students at different points in their careers. New York University film major Noah Engel, ’11, and Sara Salaway, ’11, who studies photography at Bennington College, are still in the midst of their studies, while Andrina Smith, ’03, works as an actor, playwright and singer.
Despite being just over a year out of high school, the class of 2013 is well represented in the show; Aiyana Jaffe, a photographer studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, Riko Kawahara, who is studying graphic design at the Pratt Institute, and Alia Knowlan, a Savannah College of Art and Design student, are all participating.
While many of the artists returned to the East End for the show, others have forged their careers in the local community. An MFA candidate at Carnegie Mellon, Tucker Marder also works locally as an artist, curator and director. Most recently, he presented an adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Galápagos” at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, a sold-out performance he co-directed with fellow Ross alum Christian Scheider.
John Messinger, ’02, has also managed to build his career in his hometown. The photographer and artist has shown locally at Guild Hall, the Romany Kramoris Gallery and the Watermill Center, as well as nationally, and will have his first one-man show in New York City this fall.
Filmmaker and cartoonist Dan Roe, ’04, is a media studies teacher at Ross. His latest film, “Weenie,” premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival in October and will be playing at Cinema Club next month.
“At Ross, you are always given the chance to pursue what interests you,” said Mr. Roe, who will show his cartoons in the exhibit. “For me, I was able to work on countless video projects and draw cartoons all the time…. This kind of project-based learning allows students to integrate what they love and what they’re good at into their learning and not only is that fun and empowering, it also fosters a stronger engagement with the material of a given class.”
“It’s not simply art-infused, but fully integrated,” he added of the Ross curriculum. “This means, in a nutshell, that all domains… all fold in on one another and there is no clear division between them. What you get, when all is said and done, is an ingrained understanding of human activity as a complex, with every idea, invention, change, work of art inextricably linked to everything that goes on around it. On the most basic level, this has helped me in applying the approaches I used in filmmaking to making cartoons and vice versa.”
Photographer Alexandra Strada, ’06, Molly Weiss, ’06, MFA candidate at Columbia, independent artist and curator and cinematographer Hunter Herrick, ’03, Skidmore College senior Julian Mardoyan-Smyth, ’08, photographer Kate Petrone, ’05, SUNY Purchase graduate and Ross School house parent Ryan Duff, ’04, painter and visual artist Bronwyn Roe, ’06, and portrait artist Clarisa Skretch, ’04, will also display their work in the show, which is on display through December 18, at the Ross School Gallery, located at 18 Goodfriend Drive in East Hampton.